10 Popular Career Myths Unmasked

June 20, 2023

Ten Popular Career Myths Unmasked

Is switching career worth it?

Career Myth # 1: You can’t earn a living doing something you truly, truly love

This is the grandfather of career misconceptions, the belief that you can’t have a “practical” profession doing something that you were enthusiastic about. It needs to be one or the other.

This myth is rooted in worry. Worry that we have to sacrifice our happiness to make a living. Do not believe the myth that you can’t earn a living by doing what you love.

When I first began career coaching and cv writing, I spoke with lots of people who told me it would be extremely challenging to make a living doing this work. I just chose to put a spin on my expertise and experience as a recruiter and discover what it would take to succeed, and to learn from the best (basic, eh?).

If you discover yourself believing this myth, consider this concern- As you look back on your life and your career, what will you regret more? Following your passion or following your fears? For inspiration about how to deal with career change, why not watch a video I recently recorded here:

Click this link to watch the Free Executive Masterclass video

Career Myth # 2: It’s a difficult job market/economy, a world full of uncertainties

Even when the newspapers, social media and other news sources say that unemployment numbers remain steady, that job development is at a grinding halt, or that we’re experiencing sluggish economic healing, not to discuss scaling down and outsourcing, do not believe it.

It’s a myth since it does not show the entire story, the reality that that it’s a different job market market today as compared to last year.

It’s a changing economy. How we transition from job-to-job is different.

Recruitment practices have changed.

AI is threatening jobs.

So the job market has changed, but that does not necessarily make it harder. What makes it harder is that we’ve been slower to adapt to change. We’ve held on to old practices and old behaviors. That’s not to say that old methods still don’t work, but they’re just not as effective.

So I challenge you to simply believe that it’s a great job market for you to discover work.

Many people try this, simply for a week, and, more times than not, many of them discover job leads or make essential connections throughout the week.

Career Myth # 3: Changing careers is risky

What’s riskier than leaving what you know to pursue the unknown? Changing professions indicates leaving a piece of your identity– your “I’m an engineer” reaction to the “what-do-you-do?” concern.

It may mean admitting to yourself that you slipped up with an early career choice.

Or it might indicate acknowledging that you’re unsure of what’s next. And wise people always know what’s next, right? Nope, they don’t.

Successful career changers often do not have a plan. In Working Identity: How Successful Career Changers Turn Fantasy into Reality by Herminia Ibarra, she supplied proof that waiting until you have a strategy is actually riskier than simply doing and experimenting. That’s not to say that you don’t need a strategy.

Absolutely nothing, definitely nothing, is riskier than not changing professions if you’re longing to do so.

Here’s why: The yearning will not go away. It will always exist, under the surface, awaiting you to do something about it.


Career Myth # 4: Always have a back-up plan

In some cases having a back-up strategy is the smart and prudent strategy. Back-up strategies are so grown-up and responsible.

But what happens when you’re standing with one foot in and one foot out? In my experience, we typically close the door and retreat.

We are reluctant to dedicate to ourselves, and we wind up denying ourselves the complete satisfaction of playing full-out, getting unclean and sweaty. We end up with feelings of regret and the irritating “What if?” question.

Back-up strategies diffuse our energy. Diffused energy equates to diffused results.

Give all that you’ve got to your dream/passion/risk and you’ve got a much better chance of being successful.

As an old saying goes: “Give me something to do that I really love and I’ll never work again”.

Besides, if everything fails miserably then…..what is to stop you to backtrack and take up your old job, your old profession again?


Career Myth # 5: There’s a perfect position out there for everyone

Let’s move on and continue to unmask popular career myths. For how long have you been looking for yours?

You just know, deep within, that there’s an ideal job that’s best for you out there. It matches your character, abilities, skills, and interests to a tee. And it pays well. If only you could figure it out. If just you knew what it was.

Is there a perfect job out there for you? No.

And here’s the bright side– there are more jobs than you can picture that would be “best” for you.

Chances are you’ve even come very, really near a few of those perfect jobs currently. So what happened? And how do you pinpoint one of these so-called “best jobs”?

Ever see the ideal gift for someone, however, it was months till his/her birthday? Then when you go to discover the product later, you can’t find it back. Another lost opportunity and you, once again, berate yourself for not purchasing it when you initially saw it.

So perhaps you’ve run into a perfect job in the past, but because of timing, you went by the opportunity. Or possibly you were so focused on something else, that you missed an obvious idea.

Instead of staying put in the past, which you can’t change, vow to keep your eyes open and to look beyond the obvious.

One way to get started with this, is to learn about having a system in place that helps you focus on your career development. This is what I am explaining in a video I recorded. Feel free to watch this video here:

Watch this Free Executive Masterclass video now

Career Myth # 6: Asking “What’s the best thing for me to do?” is the right question

This is one of the most typical concerns asked when thinking about a career change or a career move.

It looks like a rational analysis– weigh the pros and cons and examine the balance. Do not ask yourself this question! It rarely leads you to the responses you’re looking for. It will lead you to feeling overwhelmed with choices (sound familiar?), or feeling like you have to pick what’s useful over what appears to be impractical.

The question that will lead you to responses is easy (but challenging!) It is “What do I truly want to do?” This is a very different question than “what’s best?”

Career Myth # 7: If you do not like your position, you’re probably in the wrong career

Cause and effect, right? One way to tell if you’re in the right career is whether you like your job.

If you’re dissatisfied with your job, it’s most likely a sign that requires you to re-examine your career choices.

This is frequently what I speak about with new customers who have decided to work with a career coach.

They know something isn’t right since they do not like their jobs. Their natural presumption is that their frustration is a symptom of a larger hidden concern– their career choice. This is an example of false logic.

Not liking your job might be telling you you’re in the wrong job. It does not always mean you’re in the wrong career.It does not even imply you’re in the wrong job.

You could simply be working for the wrong person or the wrong company. It takes an experienced technique to determine the source of discontent, and I believe it’s very difficult to do it on your own (shameless plug for career coaches here!)

Career Myth # 8: Everyone needs a mission statement

Let’s keep on moving and address #8 out of 10 popular career myths unmasked.

Do you understand what your mission is?

Mission statements are expected to assist us, keep us on track, and help us move forward. I often see them -or objective statements- in CVs and résumés.

However what if you don’t have one? Does that mean you’re destined to never meet your career goals?

A client who was an effective professional contacted me because she was at a career crossroads.

She felt that if just she could find her mission in life, she would know which career course to take. She had a clear objective for coaching– discover her objective! Instead, the most amazing thing took place.

She chose that she didn’t need an objective. She decided to rely on that she was currently already fulfilling her mission statement, despite the fact that she didn’t understand what it was.

After the customer shifted her focus from finding her mission to living her life, an incredible opportunity came her way and she pursued it.

Here’s a little idea: If your mission statement is evasive, stop chasing it. Be still and let it discover you. And in the meantime, keep living your life and see what happens.

Career Myth # 9: Expect a career epiphany

When you see a link to “Find Your Dream Job,” do you instantly click it to see what’s there? Do you look at every “Top Ten Career” list out there to see if anything catches your interest?

Do you understand your MBTI type? If you do, you might be falling prey to the career epiphany myth.

I’d like, love, enjoy it if the majority of my clients had a career epiphany that showed to them, in crystal-clear terms, their next step.

Instead, I see career “unfoldings” or a journey of discovery far more routinely. That is, wanting to not neglect the apparent, the pokes, the prods, and listen carefully to the whisper within.

Yep, forget harp music and angels, for most of us, the career surprise is a quiet whisper.

Career Myth # 10: Ignoring your profession dissatisfaction will make it go away

Oh, if just this worked in the long run!! Granted, it does work at first. When you discover yourself beginning to question your career, you’ll discover it’s rather easy to push the ideas aside and pretend they aren’t there.

You know what I’m discussing: the “what ifs” and the list of regrets. Over time, the random thoughts end up being unpleasant thoughts.

You spend more time daydreaming about choices. You write your list of reasons to ignore your growing career frustration:

  • You’re too old.
  • You do not want to take a pay cut.
  • You don’t wish to go back to school.
  • You missed your chance 5, 10, 15 years ago.
  • At 40 or 50, it’s too late to switch careers

With clients in this situation, we deal with determining and challenging these fears. In some cases, the fear of change stays, but evolves into a greater commitment to living than to feeling the fear.

In case you are contemplating hiring a career coach and wonder what that will cost you, jump to this page about the cost of career coaching. 


So now that you know that one or all of these myths are unmasked, what are you waiting for?


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